Vis Medicarix Naturae is the latin term that describes the Hippocratic principle that an organism has the ability to heal itself, and that'illness' is a state where the body is attempting to correct a disturbed equilibrium. The aim of Herbalism is to assist the body in this natural process.
The main difference between orthodox and herbal medicine is the view of the organism. Orthodox practitioners see the body as a cellular mechanical structure, while a herbalist sees an organism of mind, body and spirit. 'Vitalism' connects these, and the herbalist works on all components to assist in the restoration of equilibrium. In summary, the orthodox pratitioner focuses on relieving symptoms while the herbalist's stance is one of 'the whole picture'.
'Non-compliance' is the term used when a patient abandons a course of treatment. In 60% of orthodox treatments this is because of iatrogenic illness, - ie, symptoms caused by side effects of the drug treating the original illness. Iatrogenic illness can be severe enough to necessitate hospital admission.
Orthodox medicines contain synthetic versions of a Dynamic Living Medicine (such as a herb). With D.L.Ms the whole of the plant's substance is used, thus including any counter-substance to side effects, so, side effects are fewer and non-compliance is less likely.
As a holistic therapist, I would urge people to realise the value of foods. Foods have not only nutritional value, but are also highly medicinal. They should be included, or at least overlapped, with herbal medicines.
Homeopathy is based on the Law of Similars. That is to say, 'like cures like', or, Similia Similibus Curantur. It means that the remedy for a condition is affected by introducing the symptoms of the same condition into the body, on the premise that nature will not allow two similar diseases to exist in the same body simultaneously. Thus, the original condition will be eliminated, leaving the minimal 'symptoms' of the dilute remedy.
Homeopathy considers the Whole Condition of the patient (spiritual, physical, mental, and emotional), so, two people presenting identical symptoms may be treated very differently in accordance with their mind/body constitution. This is how holistic therapy works, like in herbalism. As a practioner, I would be inclined to make use of the medicinal properties of foods too, as well as lifestyle, emotional health, and energy practice.
The approach of orthodox medicine is to treat the body as a mechanical cellular organism, and would seek to directly suppress the presenting symptoms. When presented with a symptom, the holistic therapist would consider the broader picture of the patient, treating them as a whole, including how they are experiencing their symptoms. In orthodox practice, a symptom is treated the same every time. In Holistic practice, the symptom is seen as the 'Tip of the Iceberg'. :)